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Tony Lindsay

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Everything posted by Tony Lindsay

  1. The World According to Fannie Davis is the story of a Black woman who became a numbers’ banker, which was a miraculous accomplishment because the numbers industry was male dominated. The book is the story of a spiritual woman who believed God helps those who helped themselves. The woman, who family and friends thought of as “lucky,” was Bridgett M. Davis’ mother, Fannie Davis. Fannie Davis was a true humanitarian, a lover of her community, and a consistent provider for those she cared about. In the book, her life represents a profession that is seldom given credit for the advancement it caused within the Black community. Bridgett M. Davis uses Detroit, MI. to illustrate the positive impact numbers entrepreneurs had on the community. Davis explains how the numbers bankers assisted in keeping the Black dollar within the community by circulating funds to other businesses, providing start up capital, and creating an independence away from the often hostile and predatory banking institutions. This financial self-reliance led to pride within Detroit’s Black community; this liberated stance is exemplified in Davis’ writing about her mother. The reader meets a woman who believed “that the only way she’d have more than what this country intended for her was to work for herself in a business she controlled that depended on a black clientele” (56). With a hundred dollar loan from her brother Fannie Davis built an illegal business that supported her family and others in her community for over three decades. Through a memoirist style Bridgett M. Davis uses her family history, the history of Detroit numbers, civil rights conflicts, Black bourgeoisie and Black working class conflict, divorce, family lost, sickness, and grief to give the reader an intimate look at her mother’s life in the Detroit numbers. Davis’ span of events reaches back to Denmark Vesey winning $1500 in 1799 lottery and purchasing his freedom - to modern day legislation and state lotteries destroying a traditional source of revenue for Black communities. Davis offers the reader a different perspective on what was historically thought of as an illegal enterprise. From the history she offers, the reader understands the pride and self-reliance that the Black owned industry produced.
  2. The protagonist was Easy Rawlins, and his goal was to clear the young man, Seymour, from the murder charge, and to get Bonnie, his old girlfriend, off his mind. The antagonists were the gangsters and Charcoal Joe at times, and thoughts of Bonnie. The theme I got was that Black people need to depend on themselves more – get involved in doing for each other – and trust the people in your circle. A recurring theme was heartbreak and surviving a break-up, and not to believe the hype about Black males, and don’t judge a book by its cover, which was what Seymour was doing. There so many sub-plot and metaphors – I think the woman fence, the jeweler, was representative racist society, but again the novel was loaded with metaphors The scenes that stayed with me were Mama Jo’s house, and Charcoal Joe sitting at that table in the prison yard. I think the novel is giving advice – trust your circle and your community – don’t let society tell you what is, and what is not valuable. Yes, I would read another novel by Walter Mosley.
  3. In The Power of Presence, Joy Thomas Moore used her life and the lives of other woman to instruct parents, specifically single moms, on how to create a positive presence in their children’s mind; a presence that they (the children) could call upon when making decisions and difficult choices in life. Moore used her own childhood and the life of her children to demonstrate how a child would react if the positive presence was available. She argues that having that presence, a responsible voice, in one’s head is a positive thing. Her book instructs one on how to be that positive presence. She does more than just say “this is what is needed” she goes out of the way to show others how to be a positive presence that a child could use. Moore’s book will help anyone raising a child because in order for one to become a positive presence they have to be a positive person, a productive person working hard to better their lives. A child sees this person in their day-to day-lives, and that person becomes an example, a point of reference for what should be done. The Power of Presence presents a win / win situation for the children and the parents.
  4. McFadden’s novel, ‘Praise Song for the Butterflies,’ is a heart-wrenching read to say the least. Abeo, the protagonist, is sacrificed to the tradition of trokosi, a practice of ritual servitude – slavery to shrine priest - no not priest, owners of the shrines. There is little priestly about the shrine owners in McFadden’s work. From the beginning of the novel, Abeo’s child innocence is challenged and attacked. Her childhood is lost, stolen, sacrificed to a traditional belief. The trauma of the lost is laid bare before the reader; however, much to the reader’s pleasure, McFadden has Abeo work through the trauma, but it is a painful journey. Her antagonists are many: the grandmother, her adopted father and mother, her birth mother, and the shrine owners, but the most apparent antagonist would be the traditional practice and belief in trokosi. Throughout the work the reader experiences the devaluing of female children by tradition; this motif is repeated throughout the work; ironically, it is the African tradition of community that allows Abeo to start the healing process. The same community that allowed and accepted the forced sacrifice saved her. McFadden does an excellent job of displaying the pros and cons of tradition, and within the text the battle between Western Christianity and traditional African religion is shown. Again the pros and cons of both beliefs are exemplified; the problems of assimilating into Catholicism – accepting the judgment and ostracizing of the religion while holding to and employing “bush” beliefs is another constant motif in work. The most memorable scene for me was Abeo’s attempt to save her son at the river. For me, the river was a metaphor for tradition, and it attacked her child much like tradition attacked her own childhood. Yes, I would read another Bernice L. McFadden book.
  5. Stamped from the Beginning Kendi’s history of racist ideas in America is indeed a history, but the historical information/topics are not limited to racist ideas; although, he succeeds in delivering that history (definitively) as well. If a reader is unprepared to see the frailty of icons while involved in complicated American race relations, the text is startling. The assimilationist’s thought and actions of icons are deciphered in a manner that does not diminish the icons, but the effects of assimilationist thoughts and action as revealed by Kendi might leave one a bit uncomfortable. A history America’s racist political policies and the power maintaining reasons behind them are discussed in detail in the text. It will be difficult for a reader to leave the text without questioning her or his own assimilationist versus antiracist thoughts. Kendi argues against uplift persuasion (making oneself acceptable to majority class) and educational persuasion (trying to educate the majority class to a relationship of equality) with history; he makes it clear that as long is white supremacy is the consistent thought of America . . . equality is improbable. It was a great read, and an astute reader will leave the text with a list of articles, books, and authors that will expand one’s humanity.
  6. Yep, she did a great job with family love, and showing the strength of the young - we forget how strong and focused kids have to be in such situations - I salute the young survivors as well.
  7. Please keep in mind, the forum is open - post what you think about our selected reads - the questions are only suggestions, not required guide lines - we want to read your thoughts 🙂
  8. Wow, we are on our second book, and what a book! Below is my post, Sing, Unburied, Sing Jesmyn Ward While reading the novel, I kept wondering what was it building up to, what would be the climax; despite this wondering, I kept reading because I was engrossed in the day-to-day life of a Black family on a farm. I remained caught up in the “what is going to happen next” that was unrelated to a major climatic event in the novel. I speculate that some may say the major event was the freed spirits or Kayla stepping into her role as a seer. Others may say it was Leonie’s attempts at being a healer or Jojo seeing Richie - arguing that Pops' story was build up to that event. I argue that Ward “bucked” tradition with this novel and held the reader with smaller day-to-day climaxes instead of holding them with plot build up that lead to one climax. From the killing of the goat, to Pops’ story about Parchman prison, to Jojo’s thirst, to the Kayla’s near death, to Mam’s death, to Michael’s prison release, to children hearing the unburied sing, to Jojo seeing sprits and hearing animals, the reader is engrossed by smaller climatic events and not the plot building up to one climax – the novel read like real life. I believe the protagonist of the novel was Jojo; however, Ward gave us other character’s backstories with such depth that I am sure others will argue for Leonie. Jojo had the goal of keeping Kayla safe and accepting his and his family’s spiritual powers. I see Leonie as Jojo’s antagonist; she is a physical threat to Kayla and to Jojo’s own development. Leonie’s neglect of Kayla forces Jojo into a parental role that Leonie resents. The main message of the novel was the need for family. Ward used a family under attack by racism, the prison industrial complex, and addiction to illustrate how an individual needs family. Mam would not have transitioned without Leonie, Jojo would have not had a guide without Pops – the need for family is strong in the novel. The family being under attack was one motif, along with the individual being attacked by addiction and the effects on the addict and the family of the addict. The most effective metaphor was “Given-not-Given” showing the strength of addiction; Ward had a ghost brother appear to try and help Leonie see the error of her ways, but a ghost was powerless over her addiction. The most memorable scenes were Kayla throwing up in that car and at the lawyer’s house, on Leonie, on Misty, and the police officer; the child puked on the putrid life of the addicted. I believe this text represents the malady of societal attacks on poor families within America. With this book, Ward illuminates those attacks and calls for families to remain strong. Without a doubt, I would read another Jesmyn Ward book.
  9. I keep thinking about how he depended on his learned culture decades later in life, and that dependence sustained him even when others in community tried to ostracize him and his family. His settling into griot elder status was again the culuture of his childhood carrying him through life - is our African American culture that strong? I think so. IReport post Posted July 24 Protagonist: the main character Q1. Identify the protagonist? Q2. What is the protagonist’s goal? Antagonist: Person or situation that is interfering with the protagonist reaching the goal Q1. What or who is the antagonist? Q2. Is the antagonist effective in interfering or stopping the protagonist from reaching the goal? Theme: Main Message Q1. What message is the writer attempting to relay? Q2. Why do you say that is the message? Motifs: Lesser recurring messages throughout the work Q1. What recurring messages were throughout the work? Metaphors: Imagery representation for an issue, a person, societal ill, or situation. Q1. What metaphors did you notice in the book? Most memorable scene Q1. What scene from the book stayed with? Literary merit of the book Q1. How do you think the text will function; i.e. historical work, advisory work, reference? Author Q1. Would you read another work by the author?
  10. @MissyHey, I was wondering how listening to it would go. Can you hear his dialect? Does Zora's fiendship and admiration come through? @elleaustin yep you are in 🙂 we are going to have some great discussions - happy to be with folks who love literature !!!! Report post Posted July 24 Protagonist: the main character Q1. Identify the protagonist? Q2. What is the protagonist’s goal? Antagonist: Person or situation that is interfering with the protagonist reaching the goal Q1. What or who is the antagonist? Q2. Is the antagonist effective in interfering or stopping the protagonist from reaching the goal? Theme: Main Message Q1. What message is the writer attempting to relay? Q2. Why do you say that is the message? Motifs: Lesser recurring messages throughout the work Q1. What recurring messages were throughout the work? Metaphors: Imagery representation for an issue, a person, societal ill, or situation. Q1. What metaphors did you notice in the book? Most memorable scene Q1. What scene from the book stayed with? Literary merit of the book Q1. How do you think the text will function; i.e. historical work, advisory work, reference? Author Q1. Would you read another work by the author?
  11. Protagonist: the main character Q1. Identify the protagonist? Q2. What is the protagonist’s goal? Antagonist: Person or situation that is interfering with the protagonist reaching the goal Q1. What or who is the antagonist? Q2. Is the antagonist effective in interfering or stopping the protagonist from reaching the goal? Theme: Main Message Q1. What message is the writer attempting to relay? Q2. Why do you say that is the message? Motifs: Lesser recurring messages throughout the work Q1. What recurring messages were throughout the work? Metaphors: Imagery representation for an issue, a person, societal ill, or situation. Q1. What metaphors did you notice in the book? Most memorable scene Q1. What scene from the book stayed with? Literary merit of the book Q1. How do you think the text will function; i.e. historical work, advisory work, reference? Author Q1. Would you read another work by the author?
  12. 1. No scheduled meeting time 2. The discussion board will remain open the entire monthh 3. Readers should comment on other’s post 4. Readers can and hopefully will add question to the standard question
  13. I would argue that the work had two protagonists: Hurston herself because of her goal to keep Kossola talking and thereby transcribe his life to text, and the other being Kossola because the text was his story, and wow, what a story. There was so much grief in such a small work – loss of family, loss of community, loss of health, and the loss home. And equally as painful as the grief was Kossala’s remembering the part Africans / Dahomey played in the slave trade. Kossala’s goal was to stay alive, and his antagonist was the Peculiar Institution of American Slavery with its long reaching and lasting tentacles of racism. He was kidnapped, placed in a barracoon, a slave ship, and on an auction block (all life threatening situations) due to American slavery. I believe, the establishment of Africatown, was his strongest blow against the reaching effects of slavery; freed slaves reestablished an African community on hostile American soil; that was miraculous. Kossala didn’t die due to slavery, but he suffered during and after; the lashes of racism ripped at his spirit and his body most of his life. Kossala was never able to return to Africa, and this denial was directly linked to slavery’s tentacles. The main message the text left me with – was that culture was king. Kossala’s culture was his strongest and consistent weapon. He relied on his culture and African traditions his entire life: in the bowels of the slave ship, he and the other kidnapped youth cried through traditional songs to ease their burden, as soon as he and other recently kidnapped Africans were freed they danced a traditional dance, throughout his youth and senior days African parables and fables guided his actions. When his family was taken, his culture remained; he took on the traditional role as griot for Africatown before the loss of family and remained in the role after the loss as an elder. Motifs in the text included valuing family, adapting to change, self-sufficiency, and surviving despite oppression. The text was loaded with descriptive language but what remained me was Kossala calling his wife his eyes, and when he lost her/then he was finished. The most memorable scene was the image of the Dahomey attacking his village; woman warriors entering the village beheading elders while the men blocked the exits kidnapping those who tried to escape the carnage. I believe the work will become one of the most important slave narratives in the canon. Hurston brought the skill of a fiction writer to the task of recording a biography; she converted Kossala’s biography into a story. In addition, Plant’s editing is informational and instructional. I will continue to read both writers. https://ndigo.com/2018/06/27/barracoon-wakeup-reading-paul-king/
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